The bible is not enough
I said it twice because this is really important to understand. We need to examine scripture itself. Most believers are familiar with the passage in Timothy given to us by Paul.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. [II Timothy 3:16–17 ESV]
The only question here is what Paul considered to be scripture. By this time, it is likely that Matthew, Mark and Luke were written, as was Acts, and the rest of Paul’s letters. I base this on the fact that none of the New Testament references the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 ad. But then, the writings of John do not reference it either and they were written at the very end of the first century. Peter talks about Paul’s writings.
…our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters… . There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. [II Peter 3:16–17]
Peter seems to clearly include Paul’s writing in the classification of scriptures. So what do we know about scripture?
- Inspired by God or God-breathed: Their source is God delivered by mankind to mankind.
- Useful for teaching: Not the sole content of teaching necessarily, but profitable.
- Useful for reproof & correction: More than simple guides, scriptures are to be used to correct error and point out flaws in belief.
- Training in righteousness: They can be used in discipleship as we train disciples to be holy and pure. And we find that training for ourselves as we read—praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
But we all know this, right? If you have questions about the relationship of God & the scriptures we have a serious problem and you really need to pray and ask Jesus to show you the truth about these things. Basically, if you do not accept the Scriptures as found in our Bible as an authoritative presentation of God and his requirements for mankind, then you are most likely not a Christian.
Assuming you believe the scriptures to be the written Word of God…
What follows from that? The largest mistake in this regard is found in the people, churches and denominations who believe that what they call the Word (I call Jesus the Word myself) is the only source of communication from God.
Some go so far as to believe that you cannot be saved without the scriptures, but you are surely not one of those, right? Jesus talked about this problem directly in the Gospel of John. The Jewish position was that the Law saved them. But we know better now that our Messiah has come.
You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. [John 5:39–40 NIV]
Jesus knocks that entire argument into perdition where it belongs. He says that His hearers studying scripture did so diligently because they thought that eternal life was to be found in them. Jesus immediately turns them to the truth. The scriptures testify about Jesus yet the people to whom He was talking refused to come to Jesus to get that life.
It is important that you understand Jesus is Life. Eternal life is only found in Jesus. We need to believe that and believe what He did: came in the flesh, died on the cross to pay the debt for sin, and rose from the dead to proof He was telling us the truth. This belief will make us a baby in the Lord. But more is required.
I’m really interested in your opinion about this. Please add a comment or write me directly. What more is required? That requirement comes from Jesus Himself (later on in the Gospel of John).